September 25, 2012

Life is unfair … so, go save some “f**k off” money

My daughter came home from school rather sad and asked me … “Daddy, when my friend and I chatted in class, the class monitor reported us to the teacher and we were punished but when the class monitor did the same, it is OK … she (the class monitor) was not punished … why?” I asked her did anyone report it to the teacher … my daughter said no as they were all afraid of reprisal from the class monitor and worse, the class monitor is the teacher’s favorite.

So, what will you tell your daughter to do? Go seek justice … be brave … stand your ground? No, I told my daughter … “Life is unfair … there are times, in fact most of the time, we just have to swallow it and get on”. 

Almost two years ago I wrote an article titled “It is not fair!” (click to read) … in it, I said that the moment you were born, you were crying while everyone else is smiling … you know very well that life is not going to be fair.

Let me tell you something … an episode of my life not many people know about … maybe it is good to tell now and see what comments I will get. 

In my younger days, I worked as a marketing manager in the automobile industry and my boss was the Director of the Marketing Department. I was enjoying a great career with a well known international company but after a year and a half, things started to change. My boss employed a woman (who was from the agency handling our PR campaigns) to take up a newly created marketing position in the department. Very soon favoritism towards the woman was obvious … to the dissatisfaction of many in the department. Really, it was very obvious that there was something going on between my boss and the woman.

Because it directly affects me, I decided to seek clarification … had a talk with my boss and told him that he is bias towards the woman in many ways at work and I think there is something going on between him and her. This was what he told me … his exact words “Shiek, you are just jealous that someone is doing a better job than you”. I can feel the resentment from my boss from that moment onwards. I was seeking fairness but got nothing. I struggled to carry on because I wanted to get to the bottom of things.

Very soon the “hanky panky” was an open secret, everyone was talking about it but no one dares to do anything. I then decide to escalate it … brought my dissatisfaction to the MD (my boss’s boss), a female expatriate. I thought I could get some sort of payback. And what did I get? Absolutely nothing ... the MD told me that if I am not happy, I have to sort it out directly with my boss.

Then I knew I can start counting my days in the company so I went to “sort it out” with my boss. Reluctantly he admits that he is sleeping with the woman but said it is personal and he is not at all biased during work. Oh really? Not bias? Believing that is as good as believing there is a genie in the magic lamp. Anyway, I already had my resignation letter typed out … was not in the mood to say much when I handed him my resignation but I am sure he gets the message loud and clear that I am f**king him off. 

 Maybe at that time, I have enough of what I called “f**k off” money … so I can f**k someone off without financial worries. YES, I redeemed a bit of pride, a bit of consolation but no matter what, I was at the losing end and that ended my career in the automobile industry.

I worked hard, played by the rules and all I wanted was a fair deal … I thought I can get a bit of justice but I was so wrong .

So what did I learn? I was David trying to fight Goliath … I so wanted it to be like the David versus Goliath from ancient writings, the one time in the biblical era where David won. But really, you can’t fight Goliath and you don’t want to fight Goliath. In the real world … almost every time in those cases in the likes of David versus Goliath, David lost.

Of course people want to seek fairness when they are being bullied, when they lost out to favoritism and when they suffered at the hands of those with power and influence. But the sad reality is … many just can’t do anything because they have no financial foothold, they needed the monthly salary so they have no choice but to keep quiet and tolerate the unfair, prejudiced and biased situation. 

Look, life is unfair … sometimes you just have to swallow it and tell yourself it is OK to walk away with a bruised ego. But if you want a bit of consolation, go save enough “f**k off” money … at least with that you get to fire a last shot to show some pride and get some satisfaction.

September 11, 2012

Trekking Batu Lalau

Many call it Tabur 3 and some gave it a glamourous name … Tabur Xtreme. Really, if you ask the local orang asli, they will tell you that it is called Batu Lalau … they have been calling it Batu Lalau since they settled at the orang asli reserve many years ago.

The local orang asli have trekked up to the peak of Batu Lalau many times via a few trails within the Kemensah Forest Reserve. A few years ago, a small group of us trekked up to the peak from an obscure trail located at a private orchard on the south side below Batu Lalau … I wrote an article about our experience trekking to this peak … I didn’t know it was called Batu Lalau then, I refered to it as Tabur Far East, as it is located at the very east of the range … read here.

 Batu Lalau ... you can see it as you drive along MRR2 near to Zoo Negara

From what I gathered from the internet, in the last couple of years many trekkers have trekked up to this peak via a trail opened by the local orang asli in Kemensah Forest Reserve. I made a couple of calls to my trekking friends asking for direction to this trail ... got the direction and was also told that the trail was marked and ropes secured at various dangerous points … many thanks to some good fellow trekkers for making it a lot easier for trekkers using this trail.

We parked our cars at an open area just next to the beginning of the trail

 The beginning of the trail

The usual group photo before the climb

So, on Merdeka Day (31st August, 2012), we decided to trek up to the peak of Batu Lalau via this trail … we met at the entrance of Zoo Negara about 7.00am. Eight of us in two cars then drove into Kampung Kemensah heading straight to the orang asli village. We parked our cars in an open area at the beginning of the trail and after putting on our gears, we started to trek alongside a ‘dusun’ (fruit orchard) going into Kemensah Forest Reserve. 

 Trekking along the fruit orchard

After passing the orchard we came to a trail where the nearby ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) Club used for their adventure rides. Trekking along this trail, we soon came to a point where the trail splits to the left … this left trail leads to the peak of Batu Lalau. The trail is fairly easy at first, going up gradually for about 30 minutes. Soon we came to the part of the trail where it starts to get steep and we have to trek very carefully. The vegetation and the rocky surface of Batu Lalau are similar to Tabur East & West as they are part of the same range formed thousands of years ago. We trekked up and down several deep valleys and steep rocky slopes. Ropes left by previous trekkers made it a lot easier for us.

 The trail splits left (behind us) leading up to Batu Lalau

A fallen tree along the trail

A makeshift barrier erected by previous trekkers to
stop trekkers heading the wrong way

Steep slopes and rocky gaps

 Ropes secured by previous trekkers make it a lot easier for us

Finally after about two hours, we reached the peak of Batu Lalau. On the southwest side of the peak is the beautiful skyline of KL city and on the north side is the serene of the Klang Gate Dam. Only Leong and I from this group have been to this peak before … the rest were first timers to Batu Lalau. It is good to be up here again after more than three years since we (Leong and I) last trekked up to this peak … this trail is a lot easier than the obscure trail that we took a few years ago.

At the peak, we took time to enjoy the surrounding views and surveyed the various parts of the peak. In many areas the vegetation is quite thick and difficult to move along … that is good as previous trekkers have left it as it is … “undisturbed”. Like trekkers before us, we too left the vegetation as it is and we hope that future trekkers visiting this peak will not destroy or cut away the vegetation at this peak.

Though it is fairly safe with plenty of space to move about at the peak, there are a few steep drops, ravines and sharp rocky gaps along the perimeter of the peak … one have to be very careful not to venture too near to these dangerous spots.

 One of the steep drops at the perimeter of the peak

The beautiful KL City skyline

The serene Klang Gate Dam
Mission accomplished !

A happy bunch !

 We spent about 30 minutes at the peak enjoying the views of the dam, surrounding forest as well as the snacks and fruits that we brought up. Then we decided to trek down … we descended slowly and carefully going through the various dangerous gaps, rocky slopes and steep valleys again. 

Trekking down slowly and carefully

Cooling down after a tiring trek at a nearby river

We trekked down safely in about one and a half hour and headed to the nearby river to freshen up. As usual, we treated ourselves to a sumptuous lunch in Ampang before heading home … though tired but very satisfied to know that we have conquered one of the highest point of the Klang Gate Ridge.